Pakistan declares national emergency over locust swarms attack

06:49 PM | 1 Feb, 2020
Pakistan declares national emergency over locust swarms attack
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Saturday declared a national emergency in response to swarms of desert locusts in the areas of South and upper Punjab of the country.

The action took by Prime Minister Imran Khan following an official briefing on the situation on Friday.

"We are facing the worst locust infestation in more than two decades and have decided to declare a national emergency to deal with the threat," Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said.

The desert locusts, which believed to arrive in Pakistan from Iran in June and have already ravaged cotton, wheat, maize and other crops.

Favourable weather conditions and a delayed government response have helped the locusts breed and attack crop areas.

Their potential for large-scale destruction is raising fears of food insecurity.

National Food Sec­u­rity Makhdoom Khusro Bak­h­tiar said the locust swarms were currently on the Pakistan-India border along the Cholistan and were previously in Sindh and Balochistan, Dawn reported.

The PM pledged to tackle the issue, adding that protection of agriculture and farmers was the government's priority.

"The federal government will take all possible steps and provide required facilities to protect crops from any possible danger with special focus on the danger of locust,” Khan said.

The last time Pakistan saw a serious threat of locusts was in 1993. Currently, locusts swarms are affecting neighbouring India and countries in East Africa.